Monday Mornings with Madison

Reimagining Business for the Age of Contagion

Word Count: 1,411
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

The Winds of Change

With the development of a highly effective treatment for Novel Coronavirus still months away, and a vaccine not expected until perhaps next year, it appears the pandemic may continue for a while.  However, most businesses will surely not be able to remain closed or curtailed for anywhere near that long and most people cannot afford to be unemployed or furloughed for that length of time.  Business owners and managers should replace a short-term mindset with longer-term thinking. The question to ask then isn’t “if” to reopen, but “how best” to reopen? Continue reading

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Ten Business Etiquette Tips for Video Conferencing in a Post-Covid World

Word Count: 1,348
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

To stay healthy during the Covid-19 global pandemic, telecommuting and remote work-from-home arrangements have become the norm for many.  People who had always worked in offices and met face-to-face with colleagues and clients have turned to the digital world of video conferencing and teleconferences to keep working and stay productive. Video conferencing has made face-to-face communication, collaboration and teamwork stil possible, despite shelter-in-place and social distancing.  But many were using a video conferencing system for the first time.  In addition to needing the right hardware– such as internet connectivity and a computer with speakers – workers also needed the right software or video conferencing provider. Continue reading

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Accept Change and Adapt in Uncertain Times

Word Count: 1,607
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Who Moved My Cheese?

We are living in a time of great uncertainty and massive disruption.  As Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain so aptly put it in her address to the British people last month, “I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time.   A time of disruption…  A disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.”  It is true, and she was right to add that this too shall pass.  As she put it, “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again.” Continue reading

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Using Time Wisely During Shelter-in-Place, Part 2

Word Count: 1,583
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Regardless of the type of business or industry, COVID-19 and the economic chaos in its wake are almost certain to be some of the toughest challenges of every professional’s career.  This is especially true for business owners, leaders and managers.  There are some critical issues that should be addressed as quickly as possible to keep customers, suppliers, staff and the business afloat.  Here are the top four suggested by top experts. Continue reading

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Using Time Wisely During Shelter-in-Place, Part 1

Word Count: 1,708
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

Got time on your hands?  Shelter-in-place orders and social distancing rules have shuttered businesses and forced tens of millions to stay home.  While some are working from home, many business have not yet fully adapted to the “new normal” entirely.  As a result, many business owners, leaders and professionals feel like racehorses trapped in stalls, waiting for the gate to open.  To many workers, this forced seclusion feels like torture.  So much to do… and so little ability to get it done. Continue reading

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How to De-Stress in times of Anxiety, Uncertainty and Fear

Word Count: 1,610
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

It is normal to feel anxiety, nervousness and fear in these uncertain times.  In addition to social distancing and flattening the curve, stress is another of the buzz words circulating around Zoom, GoToMeeting and Skype sessions – our virtual water coolers — these days.  Those who haven’t already lost their jobs are worried that they will.  Those who are still working are either working from home in isolation or are overwhelmed with work such as healthcare workers.  Workloads are increasing while hours and pay are decreasing.  For many, such as teachers, duties are expanding beyond their expertise (and any conceivable 40-hour work week).  Retailers and restaurant owners are wondering if their businesses will survive sheltering in place.  And, illness looms around every corner.  Never have so many been so deeply distressed all at the same time.  It would be odd if people didn’t feel stressed. Continue reading

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Delivering Great Service in the Age of Coronavirus

Word Count: 1,500
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

True story.  Last week, a woman walked into a dentist’s office to get a filling replaced.  (The order to shelter-in-place had not yet gone into effect, but was imminent.)  The woman walked up to the front desk of the dentist’s office and said hello to a receptionist who was wearing both face mask and plastic gloves.  The woman proceeded to sign in and then handed the receptionist her driver’s license and dental insurance card.   Rather than take it from her, the receptionist grimaced and recoiled, telling the woman “I don’t want that.”   She seemed horrified.  The receptionist then instructed the woman to take a step back and hold them up so she could see the information on each and typed it into her computer.  The receptionist then pushed a clipboard and pen across the counter so that the woman could fill out a patient history.  When she was done, the woman was told to leave the clipboard on the counter.  While she could not see the receptionist’s face, she sensed the tone of disgust for her perceived violations of social distancing rules.  It was not pleasant. Continue reading

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Turning to Telecommuting, Part 2

Word Count: 1,461
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Working side-by-side with others spurs creativity, generates motivation, increases teamwork and even sparks competition.  However, with “social distancing” and “sheltering in place” spreading across the U.S., companies are asking employees to work from home for the duration.  This shift can be challenging.   Although many employees already work from home one or two days a week or a few hours in the evening, it is not the same as working from home 100% of the time.  The benefits of working in close proximity to others are lost.  For example, gone is the chatter that ensues in a hallway or by the water cooler.  The collaboration that happens more casually than intentionally because of proximity disappears.  And, brainstorming that occurs on the fly in the parking lot or lunch room vanishes.  So how do companies recreate that in the digital world if every employee is forced to telecommute? Continue reading

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Telecommuting and Remote Work, Part 1

Word Count: 1,220
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

The Rise of Telecommuting / Remote Work

Working from home regularly — referred to as telecommuting for those who live near their employer and remote work for those who live far away and cannot go to their workplace on a daily basis – has been on the rise for years.  In fact, it increased 173% in the last 15 years.  That is because more U.S. employers began offering a flexible workplace option.  One reason is the availability of sophisticated, affordable online tools that make remote work more seamless.  Today, larger companies are more likely to offer telecommuting options to their employees, and employers in densely populated areas — such as the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions — are more likely to allow telecommuting.

However, the latest available statistics on the work-at-home/telework population in the U.S. — based on an analysis of 2005-2018 American Community Survey (U.S. Census Bureau) conducted by Global Workplace Analytics and released in August 2019 — shows that just five million employees work from home half-time or more.  That is only about 3.8 % of the 130,000,000 million people in the U.S. workforce, not including those who are self-employed.  This is true even though 50% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and 80%-90% of all U.S. employees say they’d like to telework at least part-time.  And this is the case even though 43% of the workforce already works remotely some amount of time with some frequency, according to a Gallup poll. Continue reading

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Harnessing the Elusive Power of Momentum

Word Count: 1,802
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

Just What is Momentum?

Achieving momentum is one thing.  Keeping the momentum going is another.  And leveraging momentum to its full advantage… well that’s a whole other matter.  English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author Sir Isaac Newton – arguably one of the greatest scientists of all time — said that “A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.”  He dubbed this the First Law of Motion.  Simply put, things do not start, stop, or change direction all by themselves. It takes some force acting on them from the outside to cause such a change.  Continue reading

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